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Many years ago a chunky part of my work was debt collection. Getting judgment was rarely difficult: the majority went by default, some went to summary judgment, and very very few to a trial. I don't recall a single successful defence in the hundreds of cases I handled.

What was really difficult (as anon at 12.10 points out) was enforcing the judgment. In part this was because (so far as one could tell, which often wasn't very far) the debtor had no assets or job. Oddly enough, the most effective means was oral examination, particularly of directors. Way back then, the prospect of being quizzed in court under oath spooked people, and they would either pay or make some sort of workable offer.

I doubt it would be as effective today. One effect of the enterprise culture (which culture is on the whole a good thing) is that people seem to be much less embarrassed by business of financial failure.

As anon at 12.10 suggests, it is enforcement which needs to be tightened up, with speedy processes. I'm not convinced about snaffling pensions in bankruptcy: many people have very limited pension pots, and the process described could well cost more to implement than it would raise. One might however provide that pension pots over some stated amount could be part of the bankrupt's estate.

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